Most true freshmen would be in complete awe playing their first college football game against the prestigious Notre Dame Fighting Irish in front of 65,000 fans and a national television audience. Collie had no time to be in awe. He was too busy helping his team win. His 42-yard touchdown catch with 7:47 to play in the third quarter put BYU up 20-3. Collie’s score proved to be the game winning points as BYU held on to win 20-17.
Not only did his first career touchdown win the game, it caught the attention of fans, coaches, and, most importantly, the quarterbacks. Collie caught eight passes the next week and at least three in every game the rest of the year.
Collie had more late game heroics against Colorado State. The Rams took a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter. A minute later, Collie caught a 40-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead and put the Cougars ahead for good.
Besides Notre Dame, the 2004 schedule was littered with tough opponents: #1 USC, #21 Boise State, and #5 Utah. None of that mattered to Collie. He found a way to get open and make catches no matter how good the defense was. In these three games against ranked opponents, Collie caught a combined 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns. In over half the games, he had receptions of 40 yards or more. Scoring touchdowns became a regular occurrence.
When the season ended, Collie had led the team in receiving yards in a game four times. He was second on the team in receiving yards, but first in receptions and touchdowns. The accolades started rolling in as well. Collie was named second-team Freshman All-American by the Sporting News, honorable mention All-MWC, and MWC Freshman of the Year.
Why number 4?
Collie won the triple crown for freshman wide receivers. He set BYU freshmen records for receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. He proved he was the complete package. He was a deep threat who could get behind defenders, he had great hands, and he was also a reliable possession receiver.
Why not higher?
Collie had zero 100-yard receiving games. He also had a low average yards per reception in three games.
Breakout game: Notre Dame (game one)
Best game: San Diego State (game nine)
Game-by-Game Stats, 2004
Notre Dame: 3 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD
Stanford: 8 rec. 49 yards
USC: 4 rec. 36 yards
Boise State: 5 rec. 94 yards, 1 TD
Colorado State: 4 rec. 60 yards*, 1 TD
UNLV: 10 rec. 70 yards
Wyoming: 3 rec. 74 yards*, 1 TD
Air Force: 6 rec. 82 yards, 1 TD
San Diego State: 3 rec. 95 yards, 2 TD
New Mexico: 4 rec. 83 yards*
Utah: 3 rec. 74 yards*, 1 TD
Totals: 53 rec. 771 yards, 8 TD*
* = Team High
Other Stats 3 kickoff returns, 59 yards 6 rushes, 19 yards
Top 10 BYU Freshmen
10. Cody Hoffman, 2010
9. Greg Pitts, 1991
8. Jamal Willis, 1991
7. Luke Staley, 1999
6. David Nixon, 2003
5. Mike Morgan, 1979
4. Austin Collie, 2004
3. Randy Brock, 1991
2. Ronney Jenkins, 1996
1. Harvey Unga, 2007